Hosting a webinar can be a highly effective way to engage with your audience, drive results, and foster meaningful connections. But simply putting together a slide deck and hitting the record button won’t guarantee success. To truly make an impact, you need to plan and execute your webinar with strategy and finesse. In this article, we’ll explore the key strategies and best practices for hosting a webinar that drives results and engagement.
Whether you’re a seasoned webinar host or just starting out, this guide will provide you with actionable insights and practical tips to help you maximize the impact of your webinars. By understanding the importance of delivering valuable content and creating an interactive experience, you’ll be able to capture the attention of your audience, generate quality leads, and ultimately drive business growth.
The webinar space in 2023
With more people still working from home than ever before, webinars have gotten more popular worldwide. Even before COVID-19, webinars were becoming a staple for educating students and potential customers, lead generation for businesses, and captivating large online audiences. From internal training to capturing leads, marketers and startups from various industries have used webinars for several purposes.
A well-planned webinar is a win-win for both a business and its customers or prospects. It gives them a chance to interact with and sell to potential customers while also building value that other sales strategies couldn’t match. They are a powerful tool for businesses looking to market a product or service or even startups hoping to attract audiences and gain visibility.
What is a webinar?
From a broader perspective, a webinar is a way to share information through a live online educational presentation. This format of content sharing allows viewers to participate by submitting questions and comments. They can be online events, video presentations, workshops, seminars, and training sessions hosted and delivered online using webinar software.
The common misconception is that webinars and webcasts are the same. On the contrary, they are two different things. Webcasts are pre-recorded sessions and videos that businesses create that are broadcasted online. On the other hand, webinars are live sessions that allow real-time interactivity between a presenter and their attendees. Webinars have proven effective because they are a two-way form of communication where attendees and presenters can give, receive, and share information in real time.
We will touch on this further in the article. Webinars have plenty of uses in a business environment. Having said that, the most important and most significant use case is educating and engaging an audience. An audience can include new or existing customers, industry peers, or students in a classroom.
The purpose of a webinar
Webinars can help with educating an audience about a business, building authority in an industry or niche and demonstrating a company’s products or services to customers. A good webinar can also help with attracting new customers to their product, training both new and existing employees, and generating leads for a startup. Let’s assume a startup is creating a marketing plan, and their goal is to generate high-quality leads consistently. In that case, webinars should be a crucial piece of their overall business strategy.
A significant benefit of webinars is that since they occur online, startups with limited budgets do not need to rent out a physical location or deal with logistics that may arise from hosting in-person events. Webinars are also convenient because people can host and attend webinars from the comfort of their own homes.
While live webinars are quite common, on-demand webinars are also an option, they are pre-recorded and available for participants to watch at their convenience.”This makes them easier to set up and repurpose. This also makes them more budget-friendly than in-person events.
Different formats for different purposes
Webinars can come in many forms with a plethora of customizable features. They also support various content formats like live video. These are the preferred type of webinars because they tend to garner the most engagement. These videos can also be pre-recorded, which is ideal for evergreen topics. This style of webinar allows startups to record their content beforehand and allows future audience members to register to watch the video whenever they want. Webinars also support the use of text: for example whiteboards can be used to draw out and explain important concepts. Surveys and polls can also be incorporated into webinars. This allows attendees to answer questions and helps the webinar host to organize all the information in one place.
How today’s brands can use webinars
1) Present a new product
To be more cost-effective, companies use webinars to present their product to end-users before fully developing the product. For a startup with a limited budget, product webinars are an excellent chance to transform the contacts they have obtained from their leads into brand ambassadors. By running a webinar, you can ask your existing and potential customers what they love to use and what they expect from your product or service. During the webinar, you can also do surveys to ask participants questions about the features that have already been implemented and the functions you plan to implement. Product webinars offer a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback about what customers like, which product features are redundant, and what processes are missing. Ultimately, this type of webinar can save both time and money which would otherwise be spent developing product features that no one wants.
2) Develop an expert position
Most startup owners cannot wait to tell the world about their newest product or service. However, before you start selling and retaining customers, you need to earn your future clients’ trust and build brand awareness. With webinars, you can begin positioning yourself as an industry expert and share knowledge that you already have. This is knowledge that your audience will find valuable. By running a series of webinar training sessions, you allow the audience to benefit from the expertise and experience related to your niche and product. Webinars can establish your brand as an industry expert. Additionally, they can help the brand to build a relationship with potential customers.
Even a free webinar can offer brand value. This is because you can use these webinars to obtain information about your audience and develop trust by delivering valuable, unique, and exciting news.
3) Engage the audience
While social media posts and advertisements are a dime a dozen, webinars are attractive because they are scarce. Live webinars provide a unique value above any other traditional marketing tactic. Thanks to people’s FOMO, the chances of them sitting through a live webinar and engaging with the host are higher. If these people know that the information is valuable, they won’t want to miss out on learning as much as they can from the webinar.
4) Find investors
Regardless of whether you are using your own money or relying on crowdfunding, you need money to develop. Another way in which webinars can help your startup is by giving you the ability to prepare an effective webinar presentation to show your future investors how they can benefit from backing your company. You can promote your webinar on social platforms to reach influencers, angel investors, or anyone who is interested in investing in the startup or project.
5) Find prospects
Webinars are also a great way to reach people who are interested in the overall brand, products, or services. You can do this by building email lists to reach your target audience through your email marketing campaigns. To get that information, you can host webinars that showcase your product or service and also reveal features, benefits, or use cases in a given context or industry. Once the webinar is over, you can add the contact information of attendees to your email list and ensure good communication after the event. Additionally, you can keep attendees engaged, share valuable resources, offer them a webinar recording and generally stay in touch with your audience.
How to create a practical webinar
1) Identify the goal of the webinar
Webinars are distributed for many different reasons, depending on the brand’s goals. The first thing that you need to do when planning your webinar is to identify your goals and set key performance indexes (KPIs) to determine how successful your webinar was once it is over. Once the goals have been set, it is time to focus on what your company is trying to provide to its audience. Just like any PR or marketing strategy, a webinar should be structured to keep the presentation engaging and organized for an audience. Whether it is sharing knowledge about an idea, product, or service, a webinar should be presented in a concise, informative, and helpful way.
2) Plan and outline webinar content
The second step of creating a practical webinar is to put together an outline and lay down the groundwork for the presentation. This outline should cover everything from inviting attendees, planning the event logistics, and deciding on an overall webinar promotion strategy. This outline should help the brand to be sure that every step of the execution will satisfy the audience’s needs. However, planning the final content isn’t just about choosing a title that captures the audience’s attention or addresses their pain points. The outline should also effectively describe what type of content the webinar will cover.
A webinar outline can help you stay focused on the topics you know your audiences care about and prevent the host from getting side-tracked. If you are aiming for success with your webinars, you need a well-designed strategy.
It is essential to pay attention to the content of the webinar. The content needs to be fresh and existing and offer helpful information instead of being too self-promotional.
3) Know your attendees
In order to effectively develop a webinar focused on improving the lives of your attendees, you need to make sure you understand these people as well as their pain points. By asking who will be attending, what challenges/problems they are facing, and trying to understand their goals, you can be successful with your webinar.
4) Think about visual branding
To truly connect with a brand, the audience needs to know that the brand is consistent. Not just with their content but also with their personality. When designing the presentation for the webinar, you need to make sure your brand identity shines through. By inserting your logo where it makes sense and using fonts, colors, and other visual elements that match your brand’s overall style, you can make a memorable impression on your audience aside from offering them valuable information. While those details may not seem important, they are an essential part of creating a cohesive brand experience for your webinar attendees. They can also make your brand more recognizable, especially if you use the same visual style in your other content.
5) Keep mobile in mind
A successful webinar should be accessible on different platforms and devices. This is especially important since not every viewer will watch the webinar on a desktop computer or mobile device. Since research shows that only 7% of webinar viewers prefer mobile over desktop, there is a chance that viewers will be watching on their phones or tablets. To give them a good experience, you need to optimize your webinar by increasing the size of your text and visuals and choosing a webinar platform that supports mobile viewing.
6) Choose the right webinar platform
To ensure that technical problems on your webinar will not lead to poor feedback and bad ratings, you need to pick the right webinar platform. When deciding which platform you want to use, you need to know whether the platform fits your budget. You also need to know whether it includes the features you need, can accommodate the audiences you’re targeting, and allows recording of the webinar. Some popular webinar platforms include Zoom, Demio, EasyWebinar, GoToWebinar, and many more. These platforms are great because they also have features that you might need to create your content. Run analytics, and provide a better overall user experience.
7) Gather the right tools
Part of creating a positive webinar experience includes having the right tools to ensure that attendees can see and hear everything going on without the stress of having to strain due to outside noise, low volume, or poor-quality visuals. According to skilled webinar creators, you should have high-quality instruments like headsets or microphones. Rather than solely relying on your laptop’s or desktop’s built-in microphone, you also need to ensure that your internet connection is stable so that you can run the webinar without interruptions.
You also should test your internet connection and gear before the webinar begins to make sure you are equipped to deliver a high-quality webinar that people will remember. The best way to test it is to set up a trial webinar to test every feature you plan to use, beginning with your audio and video recording equipment. From there, you can record a test clip and ask for the opinions of others regarding the sound and video quality as well as other important elements. Furthermore, once you decide to use a particular webinar platform, you need to familiarize yourself with all the platform’s features, like interactive features that can help increase engagement.
8) Promote the webinar
There is no point in going through the effort of creating a webinar if no one is going to attend it. Goal setting, competitor research, setting up webinar tools, and planning the webinar mean nothing if no one understands the actual value. By using PR and marketing, you can promote your event without having to stretch your budget. Implementing effective tactics for boosting your webinar marketing can greatly improve the visibility and reach of your event.
How Pressfarm can help with this
PR agencies like Pressfarm help startups and entrepreneurs create newsworthy content to gain earned media and promote their brand organically. Backed by a team of PR and media experts, Pressfarm helps startups to get the word out there about their brand as well as new developments. By creating quality content such as winning press releases, compelling feature stories, and creative media kits, the experts at Pressfarm can help any brand make a memorable impression on the public.
Additionally, their PR professionals and expert writers can provide expert advice as well as insight into the best ways for a company to reach their target audience and promote their brand. Their understanding of the ever-evolving PR and marketing landscape makes them the ideal team to help startups gain the publicity they deserve. Ultimately, by partnering with Pressfarm, you can boost your online visibility with content that will help your brand to feature in relevant search results across different search engines. Best of all, these services come wrapped in affordable packages. Sign up with Pressfarm today and create a buzz for your startup without breaking the bank.
How do you market your webinar?
i) Create a webinar landing page
It is not wise to forget to create a landing page for the webinar. As opposed to home pages and websites designed for exploration, a landing page is customized to a specific campaign or offer and guides visitors toward a single call to action. Landing pages are designed to generate conversion. An effective landing page display the topic of the webinar in a prominent spot. This landing page should also cover the speaker’s information, the date and time of the webinar, and a summary of what the attendees will learn.
ii) Write a blog post about the webinar
A blog post is a great way to promote a webinar in advance. As with the landing page, it should have all the essential information that attendees need to know about the webinar while also using creative storytelling to retain readers’ attention. Even if you do not have a large blog following, you can share your content on your website, social media platforms, and by email.
iii) Promote the webinar on social media
Promoting a webinar through social media is one of the best ways to boost attendance. You need to promote your webinar on your existing social media channels. If you want to reach more people, then you should leverage the power of hashtags. A branded hashtag is a great interaction tool during your company webinar. With the hashtag, you can develop a more straightforward strategy. Encourage attendees to use your hashtags when asking questions or discussing the webinar. This tactic will increase audience engagement and extend your brand’s social reach by introducing more people to the brand.
iv) Promote the webinar via email
If you already have an email database or have created an email marketing strategy, you need to make sure that you promote your webinar to your subscribers. The emails should be short, concise, and easy for people to read, with straightforward options for people to register for the webinar. You should also make sure that you send out email reminders to the people who have already registered for your webinar. Whichever method you use, you need to test out what works best for you. You should also keep promoting any content that you publish for the webinar to get the most value out of your webinar.
v) Promote the Webinar via popup notifications
While there is a negative reputation for pop-ups, top-performing pop-ups actually have a conversion rate higher than paid display ads. To make sure that your pop-ups aren’t just annoying distractions that people click out of, you need to be clear about what you are offering and make sure your audience wants it. Rather than simply displaying the pop-up immediately, you can be unique by letting your brand’s personality shine through.
9) Start on Time
Once everything has been created and tested, it is time to start the webinar. The most important thing to remember is that people are busy and they have lots of distractions, especially at home. If the webinar doesn’t start at the scheduled time, then you risk losing attendees, potential customers, media professionals, clients, and subscribers. Once the webinar has begun, you need to set the tone. You need to capture your audience’s attention quickly to keep them engaged. To retain their attention, the speaker should avoid unnecessary, irrelevant details. Rather, the speaker should get straight to the point as fast as they can, and outline the audience’s pain points. It’s also important to make it clear that you will solve these pain points by the end of the webinar. Be sure to list everything the audience is going to learn, and demonstrate enthusiasm and excitement.
How to use webinars for PR
1) Host a free webinar and invite media professionals
As mentioned in previous sections, webinars can be crucial when your company launches a new product or service. From a PR perspective, you can create a webinar specifically targeting media professionals by identifying an emerging trend in your industry that they need to know about. The webinar can offer statistics, resources, and story ideas that tie into the trend to train them on the topic. This training will help elevate your business as a thought leader and an expert. To gain the attention of media professionals, you can promote the webinar within LinkedIn Groups, on Twitter, in discussion forums for journalists, and in industry-specific online groups.
2) Demonstrate how to use a new product or service
Another way to use webinars for PR is to host one for anybody who needs a solution to problems that the company’s products or services solve. Through the webinar, you can demonstrate how to use your new software and products. You can also answer questions that consumers may have. A brand can also host a press conference in form of a webinar. Webinar-style press conferences can be especially valuable as a way to interact with your audience, especially when they live far away or have other commitments. This style of press conference has the benefit of building anticipation and giving people a chance to engage in conversation with the company.
3) Host free Q&A webinar for customers, ezine subscribers, blog readers
Q&A webinars are just that, a webinar format that allows people to ask questions and get answers from your company. In this case, speakers do not need to prepare a traditional presentation. They simply need to ask attendees to submit questions when they register for the webinar; this gives you a chance to do a little research and have all the answers before the webinar begins. Depending on the intention, you can create visuals like a quick PowerPoint slideshow giving step-by-step directions. You can explain how to do something, show-specific blog posts you have previously written that provide more solutions, and take people to specific websites that are good resources.
A webinar’s reach can go beyond any startup’s imagination. However, it is impossible to host a webinar without fully understanding the importance and purpose of preparing appropriately. In order to truly be successful, you must set goals and promote the webinar. Finally, you need to measure the outcomes of the webinar afterward. Whether on your own or with guidance from professionals, you can generate publicity for your webinar and achieve your webinar goals.